First step: Put them ALL on Double-SECRET Probation…

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I want to second the idea expressed in this headline on Kevin Fisher’s column this week:

USC Should Lead by Withdrawing from Fraternity System

But I’ll differ with Kevin on one point. He writes:

I was not a frat boy. For me, the idea of aspiring to be paraded, initiated and humiliated in order to be accepted by a social organization just wasn’t a serious proposition. Besides, I already had a brother. But I never had anything against frat boys, knew and liked lots of them, and heaven knows I shared their desire to drink beer and all that goes along with that. To be clear, this column is not judgmental about frat boys. It is judgmental about USC…

First, I was most assuredly not a frat boy, either, and would never, ever want to be mistaken for one. When I was at Memphis State, I kept getting calls from this one guy whose father was a civilian employee who worked with my Dad at NAS Memphis, and he kept inviting me to parties at his fraternity, to come check it out. Fortunately, I never ran out of excuses not to attend. I had zero interest in that stuff, which seemed to me like some bizarre relic of previous generations’ idea of what college was about. Greeks were just so… uncool. And the last thing we wanted to be in the early ’70s was uncool. (My father had been in a fraternity, but everybody was in fraternities back then.)

This is pretty much me and our peers in that era (from a film set in 1973):

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So I look upon this resurgence in later decades, including the construction of those Greek McMansions off Blossom Street, with considerable puzzlement.

And unlike Kevin, I have something against frats (if not necessarily frat boys), and here’s my anecdote from college days to explain why:

One day some of us were playing a pickup game on an outdoor basketball court next to my dorm. A dispute broke out, and one of the guys got unbelievably petulant about it, and walked away sulking. All but one of us were happy about that, because he was such a pain — his tantrum was particularly childish and self-centered, and he was clearly in the wrong. But then, the guy who owned the ball said he was going to have to go after the guy and try to soothe his hurt feelings.

We all said, WHY? The guy’s an a__hole!

He replied, He’s my fraternity brother.

To which the entire universe should have shouted, So WHAT?!?

What an idiotic reason to side with a jerk! If I had ever doubted before that fraternities were the ultimate in pointless granfalloons, that settled it.

Kevin blames USC. But I don’t see how this university is any more culpable than any of the hundreds of colleges that tolerate these absurd associations. I blame all of Greekdom.

That said, it would be awesome if USC did as Kevin suggests, and disassociated itself from all that madness…

1 thought on “First step: Put them ALL on Double-SECRET Probation…

  1. Michael Bramson

    One issue with this proposal is that right now USC can use the carrot and stick approach to try to influence the behavior of fraternities and sororities, but if they all become independent, private organizations unaffiliated with the university, then they won’t go away, they’ll just be subject to less oversight.

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